“My artwork deals with the problems of being a Native American in a modern world. This idea of having to face multiple problems.” - from the artist
Q: What led you to become a fine art and concept photographer? What type(s) of cameras or film do you shoot with?
A: What led me to become a fine art and concept photographer is how there is not much art that represented modern day Native Americans. I shoot with a Canon 70D with a 35mm to 105mm leases.
Q: You applied for consideration for our virtual exhibition, titled Identity: a collection of self-portraiture. The images you submitted were self-portraits aimed at drawing attention to issues of the Native American populace in the modern world. What issues do you wish to bring to light with your work?
A: The issues I want to bring up are the problems that Native American have to face. This idea of being divided into two worlds. Issues like poverty, alcoholism and drugs problems with a strong cultural background. How no one seem to understand how hard it is knowing that no one [knows anything] about you.
Q: How does your self-portrait photography paint a story of these issues?
A: The story my photographs paints is this idea of depression. Having strong cultural background but the everyday problems having a huge impact on me causing my strength of my beliefs to be question and tested.
Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your self-portraits - knowing the intimate meaning behind it?
A; I want people to see how problems of everyday life can affect your point of view and cause you to question the thing that makes [you] unique. Also to bring awareness to the population of how there are to many people, just like me, looking for a balance.
Q: Looking at your other body of work, there seems to be a reoccurring theme of nature. You have several works that depict beautiful landscapes, as well as images that exude texture or pattern found in nature, such as your image titled The Ground Crumbles beneath My Feet. What is the underlying message behind your nature pieces?
A: My nature pieces reflect my strong cultural backgrounds. My religion beliefs are surrounded by having respect for everything that is living and everything that is part of this world. Zuni’s believe that when you die your next life you could come back as an animal or even an insect. The Ground Crumbles beneath My Feet, represents the idea of taking the time to enjoy nature and how the way of life has changed.
Q: Where else have you exhibited your work?
A: Identity: a collection in self-portraiture is my first exhibition. I look forward to how people react to my photography.
Q: How do you view your art career in five years?
A: I already have a plan; my plan is take back what I need at college and apply that to my community. I have created a website, elementsofthewest.com, that is designed to help artists sell their work. More than half the people in my community uses art as a way of living. So by applying this website would have given artist a much larger reach of customers.
About the artist:
Anthony “Perry” Tekala is a Native American photographer and entrepreneur from the Zuni tribe, located in New Mexico. His photography highlights the problems of being a Native American in a modern world. This idea of having to face multiple problems. Some of those problems relating to the idea of poverty, pain, and depression. As well it deals with this idea of being stuck between two worlds, and how [he] finds a balance between the worlds. He has developed a website to assist Native Americans in promoting their art work and reaching more potential clients.
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